[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
Epitaxial Py/Cu/Co/Cu(001) trilayers were patterned into micron sized disks and imaged using element-specific photoemission electron microscopy. By varying the Cu spacer layer thickness, we study how the coupling between the two magnetic layers influences the formation of magnetic vortex states. We find that while the Py and Co disks form magnetic vortex domains when the interlayer coupling is ferromagnetic, the magnetic vortex domains of the Py and Co disks break into anti-parallel aligned multidomains when the interlayer coupling is antiferromagnetic. We explain this result in terms of magnetic flux closure between the Py and Co layers for the antiferromagnetic coupling case.